Ronan Noone has written a cheeky little comedy of manners, a cautionary tale about spreading gossip—where no good can come from even a germ of speculation because it’s apt to infect everyone. SCENES FROM AN ADULTERY (playing at New Rep through May 17) is a smart three hander (I was going to say threesome but, no) about friends who hang out over dinner or fetch up at a local bar where liquor tends to loosen tongues and wreak havoc.
Gaspar (Ciaran Crawford) has seen the wife of an (offstage) friend being affectionate with another man. Instead of telling the friend, he tells Tony (Peter Stray) who doesn’t tell his wife (Leda Uberbacher)—who finds out and is plenty upset he didn’t share the story with her as soon as he heard it. Trust, or what passes for trust, becomes pivotal in SCENES. Where should your allegiance be: With your spouse or your best friend? Do you have to share everything with your wife? Are there rules? Each of Noone’s characters believes, and behaves differently, leading to hilarious consequences when what’s good for the goose isn’t exactly what’s good for the gander.
Crawford, as the lone bachelor, has a wonderful, show stopping speech about the ten certain steps to ruin in a relationship, reminiscent of Touchstone’s seven levels of the “lie” in As You Like It, from the “retort courteous” to the “lie removed” to the “lie direct.” Director Bridget Kathleen O’Leary keeps up a brisk pace which adds immeasurably to the amusement. Stray’s physical meltdown is delightful, as are Uberbacher’s indignant fits. It’s not easy to write comedy but Noone has the touch. (Except for what seemed to me an out of character slap, SCENES succeeds wildly as a gleefully cynical romp—and, hooray, I didn’t see the end coming!)